Breastfeeding is difficult for some mothers. I know. At times I’ve felt jealous, inadequate, overwhelmed, angry, lonely, afraid and even depressed. If you have been struggling with low milk, only to have to give up in the end, can be heartbreaking. This article is all about strategies for coping.
Before my first child was born, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed exclusively. I read a few books, such as The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and expected breastfeeding to be fairly easy.
Was I ever wrong.
The trouble wasn’t so much what happened or how it happened. The trouble was my expectations. Had I expected breastfeeding to be difficult and known in advance that I’d have to pump a lot and take herbs, eat a special diet, breastfeed frequently and so on I’d have handled the whole situation a lot better.
Expectations, either yours or your family’s, are often very hard to live up to. So the first step in coping with low milk supply is to adjust your expectations. Accept that life is not fair and that at times, you’re dealt a really crummy hand. Just remember, you’re in control of how you play that hand.
I’ve known plenty of moms that threw in their cards and gave up breastfeeding. That’s one option.
I’ve known other moms who became obsessed with increasing their milk supply and saw their doctor for hormone screening, supplemented nursing by using a periodontal syringe.They completely changed their diet, took herbal supplements, pumped and nursed like mad and found a way to bring their supply back.
I’ve known other moms who gave it their best shot, but still had to supplement. They found a way to be happy with breastfeeding as much as they were able. For them, some breast milk was better than none. And simply being able to continue the loving connection of breastfeeding was priceless and something they’ve treasured for years.
How you choose to play your cards is your own decision. And I know you’ll make the right decision for you, your baby and your family. How can I say that? By simply finding this article, I know a bit about you. I know you have courage, perseverance and tenacity because that’s what it takes to fight low milk supply. I know how deeply you are committed to giving the very best to your baby.
I know some days it may be hard to believe it, but these qualities make you an amazing mom and a wonderful human being. I have no doubt that you will raise your baby into a delightful child and guide him or her successfully into adolescence and adulthood. You already have all the tools. Love. Courage. Compassion. Tenacity.
Someday, probably before you’re ready, you’ll be putting this baby on the bus for his or her first day of school. And in the blink of an eye you’ll watch as your baby graduates from high school. And then college. There as so many joys on their way to you, so try to not dwell on the difficulties of today.
Don’t think about what you could not do, think about what you have done. You have breastfed. You have fought for your child. And while there are many sources of nutrition for your baby, there’s only one mother who will love him, hold him when he scrapes his knee, provide guidance, and care for him in every way.
In the long run, it’s not about how many ounces of milk flow out of your breasts. It’s about how much love flows from your heart.